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As a parent and educator myself, I would say that one role definitely improves and enhances the other. I think the field of education is unique in that sense. It's important to have boundaries, to be sure, and it's probably more important to not filter your home experiences through the lens of your professional experience. But yes, it's impossible to completely separate the two 100%.

Dave Sherman

Terrific post topic, and it is one that I think about often. As the parent of two daughters, ages 12 and 9, I believe that my experiences as a parent have made me a better educator. From the first day my older daughter went to kindergarten, I have changed my way of thinking at school. I am constantly asking my self, "How would I want my child treated by the principal or a teacher?" I say this phrase often to others, as well. I like to remind the staff that they should try to treat their students and their students' parents the way they want their own children, or nieces, nephews, or other children they love, to be treated. This is what creates empathetic educators.

Scott Elias

Great post. Inspired me to cobble together some thoughts of my own here:



It is an important question. I have always believed that being a parent makes me a better educator (and have sometimes thought that being a parent first should be a requirement of all teachers!) And I know that being a parent of a student with learning disabilities makes me more aware of learning style differences and therefore a better educator, as well.
Wait until your children are in high school! It's a completely different experience. It is very difficult to know about the tools that could enhance your childrens' learning landscapes that are not being used. At the dinner table, we hear daily confirmation that our schools are, as Scott McLeod would say, "dangerouly irrelevant."
Thank you for raising this point.

Kelly Christopherson

This is a great question. As a teacher and an administrator, I've often asked myself when do I need to put away that hat and be the parent for my child? With 7 children in a smaller school, I get to see many of the kids outside of school, in my house. Children draw children. For me, it has been growth in both areas. As I watch my children, with varying degrees of abilities, one with a learning disability, I have been able to glean some insight into what might work as a teacher. Because I do teach my own children, I get feedback on what I am doing and whether it's wasting their time or not. As I deal with other children, I have been able to see how particular parenting styles and ways of addressing problems have effected students relationships with parents and with other people. I have also had to discipline my own children at school and had to seperate school and home, leaving the consequence for actions at the school and being the parent at home. I believe that it's both. I also see that as you gain experience and learn new things, both your parenting and teaching change. One reason that my class blogs and wikis most of their work is because my oldest daughter does so much online writing and publishing and I've seen the power it holds. Heck, she's written a 45,000 word book already. I'm still thinking about it. I get to hear a great deal about how the school where I am administrator runs. Maybe that's why I advocate that change isn't bad, it's different. Thanks for letting us reflect and appreciate the great gift we, as teachers, have with our own children and those children that cross our path each day.

Reggie Engebritson

I'm trying to catch up on my reading and this was a great post. I was a stay at home mom for 14 years with 5 children before going back into education. I have found that I have learned to "pick my battles" with 5 children and that has carried over to my work as a supervisor and now administrator. I have found that many of the struggles that high school parents have I have probably gone through in some form or another and so I can relate better to their fears and concerns.

This post helped me reflect on both roles. Thanks for posting!

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